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Murder at the Jefferson Hotel

Generally a March visit to Columbia would be a spring time treat unless, of course, you are shot to death in the Jefferson Hotel cafeteria. Bell Captain John Bassard easily recalled March 8, 1940 when a "black clad and heavily veiled" woman entered the cafeteria and shot 58 year old Isabella Burleson. Isabella was having a late lunch with her husband, Richard, when Maisie Walker Burleson, first wife of Richard, "pumped two .45 slugs" into her back and chest.

Richard Burleson, an officer with the sixth division at Camp Jackson, stated that his former wife was erratic, neurotic and peculiar. However, Maisie was declared sane by a Columbia jury and was found guilty of manslaughter on March 28. The verdict was immediately appealed by her attorney.